MORE FROM DIOR: Christian Dior SA said Thursday net profits last year reached $700.7 million, compared with $3.3 million in 2001, while operating income jumped 31 percent to $2.24 billion. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at current exchange. Christian Dior SA, which comprises the Christian Dior fashion house and luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, noted in a statement that it benefited from lower finance charges due to a reduced debt load. The Dior results coincide with LVMH’s 2002 results announced last week. Net profits were $609.6 million, while operating profit advanced 29 percent to $2.20 billion, as reported.
PARFUMS PROFITS: Inter Parfums Inc.’s fourth quarter came out smelling like a rose. Net profits ascended 24.9 percent to $2.8 million, or 14 cents a diluted share, from $2.2 million, or 11 cents, a year ago. Sales for the three months ended Dec. 31 grew by 36 percent to $37.1 million from $27.3 million a year ago. “The sales momentum that began in the third quarter for both our mass market and prestige lines continued in the final quarter of 2002,” said chairman and chief executive Jean Madar in a statement. Over the full year, income rose 15.8 percent to $9.4 million, or 47 cents a diluted share, from $8.1 million, or 41 cents, during the preceding year. Sales advanced 16.1 percent to $130.4 million from $112.2 million in 2001. This year, the New York-based firm is looking for profits to rise 17 percent to $11 million on a 15.1 percent increase in sales to $150 million. Inter Parfums also raised its quarterly cash dividend by 33.3 percent to 2 cents a share. The company owns 77 percent of Paris-based Inter Parfums SA, which is traded on the Paris Bourse, and the French firm’s results are consolidated accordingly. The American company is traded on the Nasdaq. The group plans numerous product launches this year, including summer fragrances from Celine and Christian Lacroix; a floral version of Burberry Touch that will bow in the spring, called Burberry Tender Touch, and another Burberry women’s fragrance, which is planned for fall. The next quarterly dividend is payable on April 15 to shareholders of record on March 31.
ADIDAS ON THE RUN: Confirming preliminary figures released two months ago, Adidas-Salomon reported a 10.6 jump in net profit and 7 percent rise in group sales for 2002. The Herzogenaurach, Germany-based footwear and athletic apparel firm said net profit hit $252.6 million, up from $229.4 million the year before. Group net sales topped $7.19 billion, a rise of 11 percent when currency fluctuation is excluded. Dollar figures are converted from the euro at the current exchange rate of $1.10 per euro. Fourth-quarter operating profit rose 21 percent to $72.8 million as net sales for the 13 weeks grew 8 percent to $1.65 billion and advanced 17 percent without currency fluctuation. Adidas-Salomon also said order backlogs at the end of 2002 grew 6 percent, the “highest yearend order backlog growth rate in four years.” Orders in Europe were up 10 percent, the highest rate since 1997. In euro terms, backlogs in North America declined 3 percent, but were up 15 percent on a currency neutral basis. In Asia, orders were up 11 percent and twice that much on a currency neutral basis. In 2003, the company “aims to deliver healthy top-line growth of around 5 percent on a currency-neutral basis.” Adidas-Salomon said growth is expected to come from all regions, with double-digit currency-neutral sales gains expected in North American and Asia. The company is forecasting a gross margin of between 42 and 43 percent of sales, and is targeting earnings growth for the year at between 10 and 15 percent.
MOVADO’S FISCAL WATCH: Movado Group Inc.’s fourth-quarter net income rose 20.5 percent to $5.5 million, or 46 cents a share, from $4.6 million, or 38 cents, in the year-ago period. Sales for the three months ended Jan. 31 were up 6.4 percent to $79.5 million from $74.8 million. For the year, income rose 17.1 percent to $20.1 million, or $1.65, from $17.1 million, or $1.43, last year. Sales were essentially flat, inching up 0.1 percent to $300.1 million from $299.7 million. Year-ago results exclude nonrecurring accounting adjustments and charges. “Throughout the year, we continued to focus on our strategy of executive cost savings initiatives, driving productivity improvements and improving working capital management,” Rick Cote, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement, adding: “In fact, we were in a zero net debt position at the end of the quarter, which provides us a solid foundation to execute our growth initiatives.”
LAURA’S LOSSES: Laura Ashley PLC expects to close the fiscal year ended Jan. 25 with a pretax loss, before exceptional items, of approximately $8 million. The company said in a statement the loss was due to lower-than-expected sales and margins in January 2003, higher writedowns of stock, and an increase in accruals and other year-end accounting adjustments. On a more positive note, the company said it was in “advanced negotiations” with a prospective franchisee for the Laura Ashley stores in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. As reported, the company plans to shutter 35 stores across continental Europe — including all of its German units — in a bid to stem losses, but is seeking franchise partners for its remaining 18 stores, all of which are profitable. Dollar figures are converted from the dollar at current exchange.
E-GADZ: Gadzooks, a specialty retailer of casual clothing and accessories for young men and juniors, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $2.3 million, or 25 cents a diluted share, reversing a year-ago profit of $3.9 million, or 43 cents. Sales in the quarter dropped 0.5 percent to $96.8 million over $97.3 million and comparable-store sales sank 3.1 percent after a 3.9 percent decline for the fourth quarter of last year. Junior comps rose in the low-single digits, hurt by sales of denim and sweaters, while men’s stumbled in the mid-single-digit range. During the quarter, Gadzook’s incurred a $5.9 million pretax impairment charge for underperforming stores. Gerald?Szczepanski, chairman and chief executive, said on a conference call Monday that the firm plans to close 10 percent of its 434 stores by the end of the year as part of its previously reported restructuring plan to convert to an all-women’s format. The Dallas-based firm also reported a loss in 2002 of $1.3 million, or 14 cents, compared with a profit in 2001 of $6 million, or 65 cents. Sales for the 12 months rose 3.7 percent to $325.5 million over 2001 sales of $313.8 million, but were down 3.4 percent on a comp basis. Although Gadzooks’ financial results were released after the market closed, its shares closed down 12 cents, or 4.5 percent, at $2.56 on Nasdaq trading Monday, breaking its previous 52-week low of $2.59, reached on March 7.